- seasonal and environmental allergies
- autoimmune conditions (ex. rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus)
- attention problems
- frequent ear and tonsil infections in children
- and many more
A special note on fertility: I often use food intolerance testing as a marker of immune system imbalance. Food intolerances almost always show up in those with autoimmune disease, so if we are looking for hidden clues as to why a woman is not getting pregnant or is having miscarriages, a food intolerance test can point to an immune system imbalance behind the fertility struggles.
As you can see, hidden food intolerances can be related to many health issues, and are often a missing piece in resolving your health concerns.
Before I move on, the difference between a ‘food intolerance’ and a ‘food allergy’ is that an intolerance is never life-threatening and is not associated with an immediate reaction such as hives, swelling or anaphylaxis like a food allergy. An intolerance has a delayed reaction in the body, meaning that the response is 6-48 hours after eating. This is one reason that they are so hard to track down – you may have a skin eruption that is related to a food that was eaten 36 hours before. Food intolerances are a branch of immune reactions called “IgG” or delayed hypersensitivity reactions.
Both food intolerances and allergies are certainly on the rise, and perhaps due to greater detection, but I suspect that a very large piece of the increase in food reactions stems from changes in our food over time (more genetic modification, pesticides, hormones, processing…), and also due to extra immune stress from environmental toxins and stresses. Perhaps those of us with food intolerances actually have a healthy immune system, rejecting foods that are no longer safe to consume?
Another interesting finding with food intolerances is that they can be associated with weight gain. This has greatly helped with many of my patients who have been struggling to lose weight, in spite of healthier diet and exercise. In many cases, weight gain and difficulty losing weight is amplified by the level of inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can affect stress hormone levels and blood sugar levels putting those people at higher risk for what is called insulin resistance. In order to effectively lose weight and improve the metabolism in these cases, not only is a healthy diet that supports blood sugar balance essential, but the body’s inflammation must also be addressed.
A big source of inflammation comes from is the gastrointestinal tract. If there are food intolerances and an imbalance in the gut ecology, a tremendous amount of inflammation begins. One key in these cases is to avoid intolerant foods which can be found either through a food intolerance test, or an elimination diet. The second key is to improve the ecology of the gastrointestinal tract by supplementing with probiotics or healthy bacteria, and clearing out any bacteria, yeast or parasites that don’t belong.
In one study for example from 2007, two groups of children were studied: one group was overweight and the second was normal weight. The researchers measured three key factors connected to inflammation: high sensitivity C-reactive protein (a marker that shows general inflammation in the body); degree of thickening in the carotid arteries which supply blood to the brain (measured by ultrasound); and blood tests for IgG or delayed food sensitivities. What they found was that the overweight children had 3-times higher levels of C-reactive protein, 2.5 times higher levels of IgG antibodies to foods, and much thicker carotid arteries which are signs of early atherosclerosis and heart disease. This study suggests that food intolerances are potentially a cause of inflammation and obesity, not a consequence.
From these findings, I would highly suggest treating inflammation as a key component in weight loss, and testing for food intolerances as contributing factors to this inflammation. (Study reference: Wilders-Truchnig M, Mangge H, Lieners C, et al. IgG Antibodies Against Food Antigens are Correlated with Inflammation and Intima Media Thickness in Obese Juveniles. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2007 Dec.).
Overall, in practice I have found that testing for food intolerances is a very helpful in determining some of the root causes of my patients health concerns. On eliminating strong food intolerances, we lower body inflammation which is the fuel the pushes most chronic health conditions and diseases.
If you would like more information on food intolerance testing, please contact the clinic.